5. Changing Attitudes and Raising Awareness
People with disabilities face many visible barriers that can be remedied by technology or overcome with physical improvements. In addition, they also face the challenges imposed by invisible barriers such as negative attitudes, misconceptions and lack of awareness about accessibility issues. York Region continues to attempt to break down these invisible barriers in a variety of different ways, such as changing attitudes and raising awareness.
Accessibility Achievements in 2009
Community and Health Services included training about the AODA in the annual mandatory training sessions in the long term care facilities it manages. In addition, staff participated in the corporate Accessible Customer Service Training in the fall of 2009. The department is the corporate lead for the coordination and development of policies, procedures and compliance for all regulations under the AODA. This role included the development of the corporate Accessible Customer Service Policy.
Office of the Chief Administrative Officer developed and delivered corporate training to all York Region staff and volunteers as required by the AODA Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Regulation that includes core principles of independence, integration and equal opportunity. A strategy was developed to ensure contracts for agents serving the public on our behalf include AODA training requirements. The department also defined a customer feedback process that is included in the Accessible Customer Service Policy about the way the region provides goods and services to people with disabilities.
All departments reviewed or are reviewing internal policies, practices and procedures to ensure compliance with the AODA Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Regulation's core principles of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity.
Barrier Identification for 2010
All departments will review and align their internal departmental policies, practices and procedures with the corporate Accessible Customer Service Policy.
Barriers to be Addressed in 2010
Community and Health Services will work with other departments including York Regional Police to design and implement a variety of activities to support and promote National Access Awareness Week.
The Office of the Chief Administrative Officer will develop and use public education materials to build individual capacity for personal preparedness during emergencies for people with disabilities. The department will also work towards increasing the participation of people with disabilities in emergency management exercises.
York Regional Police will continue to invite agencies serving people with various types of disabilities to participate in the Recruit Community Insight Program to enable officers to gain insight into the diverse communities that make up York Region. The activities will be designed and implemented to support and promote National Access Awareness Week. An electronic resource library for employees on the YRP Intranet will include information about the AODA and the ODA, Accessibility Directorate of Ontario's supports, and other relevant information. As well, all employees will be required to view the York Region Accessible Customer Service training DVD.